Where do I begin?
As I dig This Garden
By John Selby
As I dig this garden in the late morning
I rub my grandfather's belly, digging
With his shovel and shoes, his elbows.
He sweated as he hoed the rows for me
When I was seven and free with water.
His short-sleeved white shirt was wet.
He wiped the sweat from his face,
Smiling above in the face of the sun.
Tales of hobo jungles I searched for down alleys
On corners in parks where I set myself adrift
From my parents who never heard the roses on the
Wallpaper whisper to me as I dashed blindly
From my room to theirs nearly swallowed up
By my own bed; and my father's pants
Hanging on the door hovered like a grey
Ghost ready to smother me.
As I dig this garden my mother sings to me through
A shell: I unearth an abalone chip, a half-
Smashed china pitcher, stones, test tubes, pieces of
Glass and aluminum, knives and nails, a rusted ring.
My grandfather watches as I dig and hoe, turn and sow,
As I water the rows: I'm picking fruit from his body
While my mother's singing follows water and echoes
From her bath of green foam and white roses.
[Home] [Question] [On the Dock] [About life raft]